The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [April 2014]

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This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Each week, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here.

While I hate to do another recent chart after having just done 2011 last week, my schedule this week is admittedly pretty busy. Therefore, I wanted to showcase another chart of songs that I am familiar with. I picked April 19th, 2014 since that’s approximately a month before Country Perspective even came into existence, and I thought it would be fun to showcase what the charts were like just before Josh stepped onto the scene.

  1. Blake Shelton – “Doin’ What She Likes” -2
  2. Randy Houser – “Goodnight Kiss” -2
  3. Jerrod Niemann – “Drink To That All Night” -5
  4. Brantley Gilbert – “Bottoms Up” -5
  5. Eric Church – “Give Me Back My Hometown” +1
  6. Rascal Flatts – “Rewind” -2
  7. Thomas Rhett – “Get Me Some Of That” -5
  8. Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan – “This Is How We Roll” -5
  9. Brett Eldredge – “Beat Of The Music” 0
  10. Miranda Lambert – “Automatic” +3 [Best Song]
  11. Dan + Shay – “19 You + Me” -2
  12. Keith Urban – “Cop Car” -2 (I’m sorry, I don’t get the appeal in this song at all)
  13. Luke Bryan – “Play It Again” -3
  14. Justin Moore – “Lettin’ The Night Roll” -1
  15. Tim McGraw – “Lookin’ For That Girl” -5 [Worst Song]
  16. Craig Morgan – “Wake Up Lovin’ You” +2
  17. Sara Evans – “Slow Me Down” 0
  18. Tyler Farr – “Whiskey In My Water” -1
  19. Craig Campbell – “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” +1
  20. The Band Perry – “Chainsaw” -2
  21. Hunter Hayes – “Invisible” -2
  22. Billy Currington – “We Are Tonight” +1
  23. Jake Owen – “Beachin'” -4
  24. Chris Young – “Who I Am With You” +1
  25. Joe Nichols – “Yeah” -2
  26. Sheryl Crow – “Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely” +1
  27. Eric Paslay – “Song About A Girl” -1
  28. Eli Young Band – “Dust” +2
  29. Brad Paisley – “River Bank” -1
  30. Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance” +2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: -38

Wow, this is an absolutely terrible chart across the board. How many -5’s was that again?!? It’s hard to believe that a chart from the future could actually look better than this. Yikes.

Alright, so let’s start off with the few good songs here. Miranda Lambert is the only person with a song worthy of an 8/10 (IMO), so she runs away with best song for “Automatic”. The only other good songs come courtesy of Craig Morgan, Lee Brice, and Eli Young Band and I’m sure that even you guys will have something to say about one or more of those songs.

The terrible is easy to digest. It’s quite surreal looking back and seeing just how much bro-country really did plague the genre. There are five songs here that could compete for country music’s worst songs, and to pick the worst of all of them was tough. In the end, I picked Tim since not only does that song absolutely blow, Tim McGraw simply knows better dammit! Trust me folks, I really did consider just tying all five of these songs for worst song. I felt like Negan from the Walking Dead trying to pick a victim. Aside from that…yeah, things aren’t much better outside of those five. Just a sad chart to see.

As always, if you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [April 2014]

  1. I agree with your best and worst songs. I just have to say, thankfully Tim McGraw figured it out and has turned the corner, because you know a song is terrible when it beats “Bottoms Up”, “This is How We Roll” AND “Drink to That All Night” for worst song on the chart! Sheesh, five -5 songs!

    I agree with your score for “Beat of the Music.” I may even bump it to a +1 for me because that song is a total guilty pleasure in my book. And I also enjoy “Cop Car” even with it being written by Sam Hunt. I think it’s more compelling story…it’s definitely one of those pop songs advertised as country that has grown on me.I’d probably have given that one a -1 or 0 personally.

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  2. This was right around the time bro country reached its peak and then died out. Time for my ratings.

    1. Doing What She Likes -3
    2. Goodnight Kiss -1
    3. Drink To That All Night 0 (a total guilty pleasure)
    4. Bottoms Up -4 (I never quite hated this as much as others, it’s still bad, but a tad boring)
    5. Give Me Back My Hometown +4 (something about this song is intense and I love it)
    6. Rewind +2 (Rascal Flatts is a guilty pleasure band of mine and Gary Levox sounds so comfortable singing this, yes the lyrics are lightweight but they don’t really ever commit any red flags)
    8. This Is How We Roll -5 (this song has it all, awful rapping terrible production, improper english, and there’s no real fire in this song it just never takes off)
    9. Beat Of The Music +2 (I just really like the laidback atmosphere for this song and Brett kills it, I have come back around on this song since the radio overplay has stopped for a while
    10. Automatic +1 (I like the sound but I’m sorry “Staying married was the only way to work your problems out” just sounds so funny now coming from Miranda Lambert.)
    11. 19 You and Me 0 (an awful excuse for a pop song, but It’s a song I somewhat like if you remove genre lines, however a lot of other Dan + Shay songs are just awful)
    12. Cop Car -3 (thank you Zack, I never ever got the appeal, it just sounds so boring)
    13. Play It Again +1 (the melody really brings this song better)
    14. Letting The Night Roll 0 (boring without being so boring it’s bad)
    15. Looking For That Girl -5 (an autotune junk fest, I still believe Scott Borchetta heavily hinted towards releasing this song)
    16. Wake Up Loving You 0 (I like Craig but this I don’t care for)
    17. Slow Me Down +4 (I am not usually a big Sara Evans fan but there’s a lot of intensity in this songband Sara finally commits a full on vocal performance that doesn’t sound stilted. While the production isn’t the best, it sounds great enough for me)
    18. Whiskey In My Water 0
    19. Keep Them Kisses Coming 0
    20. Chainsaw -3 (I’m sorry this was so annoying and grating)
    21. Invisible 0 (I like the message enough to give it a nuetral score)
    22. We Are Tonight -2
    23. Beachin -5 (worst song)
    24. Who I Am With You 0
    25. Yeah 0 (a decent swelling chorus, and Joe coming off as sincere save it for me)
    26. Callin Me When I’m Lonely 0
    27. Song About A Girl -4 (trying to be anti bro but failing spectacular)
    28. Dust +5 (Best song)
    29. River Bank -2
    30. I Don’t Dance +3

    Total Score: -15
    So not quite as low as you Zack, but the songs I liked were the ones I really had to seek out.

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  3. This chart is relevant for me because it was the month I got married, so there are some good memories.

    Only changes I would make would be

    Doin What She Likes +1
    Give me Back my Hometown +2
    Keep them Kisses Coming +2
    Who I am with You +2

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  4. I actually liked Goodnight Kiss quite a bit. Would probably be a +2 for me. For some reason Automatic annoys me now. I nearly forgot Sheryl Crow ventured into country. She did manage to have 2 decent singles that did ok

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  5. How do you find the past top 30 for a given week? Maybe I’m dumb, but I’ve tried google and have a hard time finding early 00s music or past charts. Thanks

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  6. Urrghh…what a week.
    Hunter Hayes: saw the hyperactive kid live on the Opry stage. He was the new “next big thing”. Things can change fast. “Invisible” is a 0.
    Brett Eldredge: “Beat Of The Music” is a guilty pleasure & a +3.
    Keith Urban: “Cop Car”. Perfect song for KU (+2). The Sam Hunt version is ok.
    Sara Evans: “Slow Me Down” & country radio slowed her down. She needs better songs. +1.
    Niemann & Brice: the current duet is not a high-flyer. “I Don’t Dance” is a 0 & the Niemann track is a -5.
    Best songs: “Automatic” & “Beat Of The Music”.
    Worst songs: “Lookin’ For That Girl”, “Drink To That All Night”, “Bottoms Up”, “Rewind”, “Give Me Some Of That”, “This Is How We Roll”, “Beachin'” & “Yeah”.

    New Artists:
    Morgan Wallen – “The Way I Talk” – Single – Big Loud (generic radio stuff).
    Kevin Mac – “#Winning” – Single – Dreamlined/Star Farm (awful song, bad voice…sounds like a hit).

    New Single:
    Mo Pitney – “Everywhere” – Curb – tba – Source: Rolling Stone
    Casey Donahew – “Kiss Me” – Almost Country/New Revolution – tba – Source: Play MPe
    Vince Gill – “Me & My Girl” – MCA Nashville – 8/8 – Source: AllAccess

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